Notes Hoffmans Putter Toss Presidential Visit

By Associated PressMay 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Charley Hoffman missed a 20-inch putt, then did something just about every golfer has at least considered after one shot or another.
He threw his club.
He whipped it actually.
Hoffman flung his putter into the murky water next to the 13th green Friday, a frustrating response to a double bogey that delighted the crowd and sent the 31-year-old player into a tailspin. It was a fitting highlight to Fridays second round of The Players Championship, which was played in gusting wind.
I had thoughts of diving in front of it, caddie Miguel Rivera said. I did actually think about going in, but the water looked a little funky.
Hoffman declined comment after he shot 11-over 83 in the second round and badly missed the cut at 15 over. He was 7 over when he reached the par-3 13th and needed a few birdies to make it to the weekend.
Instead, he missed what would have been a gimme on any municipal course and ended up shooting 8 over in the final six holes.
He used his sand wedge and a hybrid club to putt the rest of the round and actually had a few nice shots with them. Not knowing what to do with the head cover for the putter, Rivera threw it on the sand wedge for the final five holes just to make sure we designated it as our putter.
A volunteer eventually retrieved the putter, taking off her shoes, rolling up her pants legs, then tiptoeing along the edge of the water and pulling it out with an extendable ball retriever.
There was no word whether the volunteer planned to return it to Hoffman.
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: After knocking his tee shot into the murky lagoon, Billy Mayfair walked to the drop area at No. 17 and found two dignitaries watching from the front row.
Former President George H.W. Bush made a brief visit to The Players Championship on Friday. Accompanied by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, Bush spent a few minutes on the practice range and then headed to the famed island green at TPC Sawgrass.
Bush watched three groups play the treacherous hole in wind gusting to 35 mph. Mayfair, Bubba Watson, John Mallinger, Dean Wilson, Michael Campbell, Shaun Micheel, Mark Calcavecchia and Carl Pettersson teed it up in front of the former president.
Mayfair was the only one who didnt land safely on the green.
I didnt see him until after I hit my shot, said Mayfair, who was 1 over after the second round. I just wish I hit that green. Ive missed it twice, two days in a row, so that holes kind of hurting me. Other than that, Ive played pretty well.
Mayfair has met Bush several times, the first one in 1987 as a member of the Walker Cup team. So Mayfair didnt hesitate to stop, shake his hand and say hello.
I know him a little better and I feel very comfortable, Mayfair said. Its not every day you get to meet a former president of the United States.
But Mayfair knew better than to spend too much time socializing. After all, the former president is known to enjoy fast play.
Ive heard hes very quick, Mayfair said, adding that Bush probably wouldnt spend too much time worrying about the tee shot on the 17th. Its only 135 yards. It cant be that hard.
TORTOISE AND THE SCARE: Anthony Kims scariest moment of the second round had nothing to do with gusting wind or slippery greens.
Kim and playing partner Boo Weekley spotted a turtle as they walked from the tee box to the green on the par-3 No. 8. At first, Kim would only touch the turtles shell with his wedge. But Weekley convinced him to feel it with his hand.
Just as Kim started the stroke the shell, the turtle snapped its neck upward.
He jumped and backed up real fast, Weekley said.
He got me pretty good, added Kim, who shot 70 and was 4 under.
KRAFTS BREAK: Greg Kraft didnt think his tee shot on the par-3 17th stayed on the green. He even stopped at the drop zone to hit another one.
It wasnt until he was about to drop a ball that the gallery and his playing partners alerted him that his shot landed a few feet from the edge, hidden in a sprinkler head.
Its nice to get a good break on that hole because in 10 years Ive had some bad ones, Kraft said.
Kraft was allowed a free drop from the sprinkler, then two-putted for par. He could have easily had a bogey or worse, and thanks partly to the break, he made the cut at 3 over.
Im just worn out. This course beat me up today, he said. Starting at 3 over, knowing you have to shoot par to make the cut, it was a brutal day. Its a tough course.
STUPID STAT: The video boards behind the tee and green on the 17th hole are filled with information aimed at entertaining and informing the fans. But one of the statistics might be the most useless, which is saying something.
Among other things, the tour keeps track of how close a player hits his approach shot from various distances. The 17th hole was playing 142 yards Friday, and as each player stepped to the tee, it flashed his PGA Tour ranking on proximity to the hole from between 125 and 150 yards. Stephen Ames, for example, is ranked No. 94 on tour at 23 feet, 10 inches.
All that is great'except that most approach shots from that distance arent to an island green.
So how did the No. 1 player in proximity from 125-150 yards do Friday? Well, that would be Corey Pavin, and he didnt qualify for The Players Championship. The second-ranked player is Kent Jones. He isnt here, either.
Boo Weekley was the highest ranked player in the field at No. 3. But at The Players, his ranking from that distance is No. 116.
Go figure.
CLARKS RECORD: Tim Clark set a tournament record Friday'and not a good one.
Clark recorded a quintuple-bogey 10 on the 573-yard ninth hole. His first two tee shots landed in the water right. He found the fairway with his third shot, then hit his next one into a large bunker short and left of the green. His seventh shot flew the green. He chipped to about 20 feet and two-putted for 10.
It was the highest score every carded at No. 9 in the 27 years The Players Championship has been played at TPC Sawgrass.
Only four larger number have ever been posted at Sawgrass in tournament history. Phillip Hancock took a 12 at the par-4 fourth in 1985, Bob Tway carded a 12 at No. 17 in 2005, Robert Gamez finished the famed island hole with an 11 in 1990 and Andre Stolz wound up with an 11 at the 18th in 2005.
DIVOTS: Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Padraig Harrington, Mark Calcavecchia, Geoff Ogilvy, K.J. Choi and Justin Rose were among the notables who missed the cut, which was 3 over. Robert Garrigus had the shot of the day. He aced No. 13 with an 8-iron from 164 yards. And he did it without much thought. I was joking around, trying to chuck stuff in the garbage, not really paying attention, get up, slap an 8-iron right at it and ended up going in, he said. It was kind of a shock. Eighteen balls found the water on the par-3 17th Friday, giving the famed hole a two-day total of 37.
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